Unleashing the Musical Genius: Unraveling the Top Acoustic Guitar Solos by Country Bands

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When it comes to country music, the sound of an acoustic guitar often takes center stage in the songs we love. There’s something about the twang and strum of those strings that just seems to capture the spirit of the genre. And for those who truly appreciate the craft of playing the instrument, there are certain acoustic guitar solos that truly stand out as works of art. These solos showcase the talent, creativity, and sheer musical genius of their performers, and have become beloved pieces of country music history. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the best acoustic guitar solos by country stars – and discover the magic behind the music.

The Essential Acoustic Guitar Solos in Country Music

The Essential Acoustic Guitar Solos In Country Music
The beauty of country music lies in its ability to convey raw emotions through compelling stories that hit home for many of its listeners. And what better way to bring these stories to life than with the soothing melodies of an acoustic guitar? The essential acoustic guitar solos in country music are an embodiment of the genre’s rich history and evolution over time. These solos have set the standard for guitarists in the industry and continue to inspire new generations of musicians. In this section, we will delve into some of the most unforgettable acoustic guitar solos in country music, from the likes of Doc Watson to Eric Church, and explore what makes them stand out. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the genre, this is a journey you won’t want to miss. For further reading on the topic of acoustic guitarists in country bands, check out our list of the top 10 acoustic guitarists in country bands.

1. Doc Watson – Black Mountain Rag

Doc Watson’s “Black Mountain Rag” is often regarded as one of the most essential acoustic guitar solos in country music. Watson’s mastery of the instrument is on full display in this piece, which features lightning-fast fingerpicking and intricate chord progressions.

Doc Watson was a legendary guitarist and singer known for his virtuosic playing style and contributions to the folk and country music scene. “Black Mountain Rag” highlights Watson’s unique blend of traditional country and bluegrass music, with a driving rhythm and intricate melody that showcases his technical skills.

The song itself has become a popular standard in the country music repertoire, with countless artists covering the tune over the years. Watson’s version, however, remains one of the most iconic and influential. The tune kicks off with a fast-paced intro, featuring Watson’s nimble fingerpicking and signature licks. From there, the song builds in intensity, with Watson’s fluid melodies weaving in and out of complex chord patterns.

Watson’s playing style heavily influenced other country and bluegrass guitarists, and his legacy can still be felt in modern country music today. From his unique fingerpicking techniques to his intricate chord progressions, Watson’s contributions to the genre cannot be overstated.

For more on the evolution of acoustic guitarists in country bands, check out our article on the subject. Or, if you’re interested in learning more about the acoustic guitar techniques used in modern country music, be sure to read our piece on the topic.

2. Chet Atkins – Mr. Bojangles

When it comes to country guitarists, Chet Atkins is a household name. His impressive fingerpicking style has influenced countless players in the country genre and beyond. “Mr. Bojangles” showcases Atkins’ signature sound and technique beautifully.

The song, originally written and performed by Jerry Jeff Walker, tells the story of an old street performer who goes by the name Mr. Bojangles. Atkins’ cover of the song features his intricate fingerpicking style and use of harmonics, which adds a haunting quality to the already melancholic tune.

Atkins recorded “Mr. Bojangles” for his album “Superpickers” in 1973. The album was a critical success and solidified Atkins’ place as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. His skillful and effortless playing on “Mr. Bojangles” is a prime example of why he earned that title.

If you want to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of acoustic guitarists in country bands or the techniques used by country band guitar signatures, be sure to check out our other articles on the topic. Additionally, if you’re interested in country guitar collaborations or the path to success for acoustic guitarists in country music, we have articles on those topics as well.

3. Tony Rice – Church Street Blues

One of the most iconic acoustic guitar solos in country music belongs to Tony Rice with his rendition of “Church Street Blues”. This solo is a dazzling display of Rice’s fingerpicking skills and unique guitar style.

The solo begins with a fast and intricate picking pattern that sets the tone for the rest of the piece. Rice then transitions into the melody of the song with his signature syncopated rhythm and intricate phrasing. The solo is filled with impressive runs and licks that demonstrate Rice’s technical mastery of the instrument.

What stands out the most about Rice’s playing on “Church Street Blues” is his ability to convey emotion through his playing. Each note feels intentional and carefully placed, conveying a sense of passion and intensity. It’s no wonder that Rice is considered one of the greatest acoustic guitarists in the history of country music.

Not only is “Church Street Blues” a great example of Rice’s skill as a guitarist, but it is also a testament to his songwriting ability. The song is a heartfelt tribute to Rice’s hometown of Danville, Virginia and the challenges he faced growing up there. The combination of his lyrics and guitar playing make for an unforgettable piece of music.

This solo is a must-listen for any fan of acoustic guitar and country music. It’s a shining example of the technical skill and emotional depth that the best acoustic guitarists from country bands possess. To learn more about the techniques and collaborations of country band acoustic guitarists, check out the following behind-the-scenes article on the topic.

4. Merle Travis – Cannonball Rag

Merle Travis, being one of the most influential country musicians of all time, created an iconic acoustic guitar masterpiece with “Cannonball Rag.” The fingerpicking technique, known as Travis picking, was named after him and is prominently displayed in this song.

This country classic, which was originally recorded in 1946, has been covered by many artists since then. Its popularity never seems to fade away, and it has remained a fan-favorite for generations. What sets this instrumental apart is the way Merle Travis used the thumb and fingers of his right hand to create a complex melody line that interweaves with a driving bass rhythm.

Merle Travis’ unique fingerstyle technique in “Cannonball Rag” inspired many other guitarists to take up fingerpicking. The song requires a high degree of technical skill, which provides an excellent challenge for intermediate and advanced players. Travis was a true master of the instrument, and this track is a perfect example of his unique talent.

In conclusion, “Cannonball Rag” is one of the essential acoustic guitar solos in country music history. Merle Travis’s expert fingerpicking technique with thumb and fingers provides a challenging yet enjoyable experience for players of all skill levels. Its influence has been felt for generations, and it’s an instrumental track that any aspiring country guitarist should take the time to learn. Discover more about country band guitar signatures on our website.

5. Brad Paisley – Huckleberry Jam

One of the most notable acoustic guitar solos in country music history belongs to Brad Paisley’s “Huckleberry Jam.” The song features Paisley’s signature style of blending traditional country music with contemporary sounds, showcasing his technical skills and an unmatched ability to create catchy melodies.

In the song, Paisley starts with a simple riff, gradually building up the complexity and speed of his playing until it reaches a breathtaking climax. The solo is a combination of various acoustic guitar techniques such as fingerpicking, flatpicking, and hybrid picking, making it a masterpiece of country guitar playing.

What makes “Huckleberry Jam” stand out from other country guitar solos is how effortlessly Paisley incorporates different elements of the genre into his playing. He effortlessly blends bluegrass, rock, and country music into a unique sound that is unmistakably his own. His playing style has been an inspiration to many aspiring acoustic guitarists in country music.

Paisley’s success extends beyond his own solo work. He has collaborated with many other high-profile country artists over the years, creating some of the best country guitar collaborations in recent history. His guitar prowess has been a big part of his success in the industry, and it’s no wonder he’s one of the most respected acoustic guitarists in country music today.

Brad Paisley’s “Huckleberry Jam” is a shining example of the acoustic guitar signatures that have helped propel country music to new heights. It’s a perfect representation of the unique acoustic guitar techniques that have been utilized by country bands over the years. If you’re a fan of country music, then it’s a must-listen piece, and it’s no wonder that Paisley’s contribution to the world of country music is admired and respected by many.

6. Willie Nelson – On the Road Again

Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” is a classic country song that showcases the brilliance of his acoustic guitar playing. The song features an unmistakable guitar riff that is both infectious and instantly recognizable. The riff has become a signature part of the song and is a testament to Nelson’s guitar skills.

Nelson’s style of playing is rhythmic and soulful. He has a unique way of blending various acoustic guitar techniques to create a distinctive sound that is all his own. In “On the Road Again,” he combines fingerpicking, strumming, and flatpicking to give the song a dynamic and exciting feel.

The song’s opening riff is a prime example of Nelson’s guitar mastery. It is a simple yet catchy riff that instantly sets the tone for the song. Nelson’s picking hand alternates between the bass and treble strings as he strums the chords with his other hand. This creates a driving rhythm that perfectly complements the song’s lyrics about life on the road.

As the song progresses, Nelson’s guitar playing becomes more intricate. He adds flourishes and embellishments to the basic chord progression, giving the song a sense of momentum and excitement. His solo is a highlight of the song, featuring a combination of melodic lines and rapid-fire runs that are both expressive and technically impressive.

Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” is a testament to the power of acoustic guitar in country music. His playing on the song is a masterclass in acoustic guitar techniques and a shining example of his immense talent as a guitarist.

Want to learn more about the best acoustic guitar solos by country bands? Check out our article on acoustic guitarists in country music, which explores the techniques, signatures, and collaborations that have made country guitar playing such a beloved art form.

7. John Prine – Paradise

John Prine’s “Paradise” is one of the most iconic acoustic guitar solos in the history of country music. This song takes the listener back to a time of simpler living and captures the essence of small-town America.

The guitar solo itself is a masterpiece, with Prine using a fingerpicking technique to create a delicate and intricate sound. The melody is hauntingly beautiful, with strong and clear notes interspersed with soft, rhythmic strumming. The song’s lyrics are equally poignant, telling the story of a town that has been destroyed by strip mining.

Prine’s guitar playing on “Paradise” showcases his incredible skill as a musician and his ability to convey deep emotions through his playing. His use of open chords and intricate fingerpicking patterns creates a unique sound that perfectly complements the song’s lyrics.

It’s no wonder that John Prine has become an inspiration to many aspiring country musicians. His contributions to the genre have earned him a rightful place in the Country Music Hall of Fame. “Paradise” is a prime example of Prine’s incredible talent and continues to be a beloved song for country music fans around the world.

Fun Fact: “Paradise” was inspired by Prine’s own hometown of Paradise, Kentucky, which was destroyed by strip mining in the 1960s.

Here is a table summarizing the key aspects of John Prine’s “Paradise” solo:

Artist Song Technique Emotion
John Prine Paradise Fingerpicking Hauntingly beautiful

If you are interested in learning more about the techniques used by country band acoustic guitarists in their solos, check out our article on Acoustic Guitar Techniques Used by Country Bands. Additionally, if you want to delve deeper into the success of country band acoustic guitarists, check out our article on The Secrets to Success of Country Band Acoustic Guitarists.

8. Don Felder – Hotel California (The Eagles)

One of the most iconic guitar solos of all time comes from the Eagles’ legendary song, “Hotel California”, which was co-written by Don Felder. The solo is a masterpiece of melody and technique, and it is no wonder that it is considered one of the greatest guitar solos in rock history.

The solo starts off slowly with a haunting intro played on an Ovation double-neck guitar. This instrumental section sets the mood for the whole solo, alternating between major and minor tonalities. After the intro, the solo builds up in intensity and complexity, with Felder transitioning back and forth between major and minor modes, all while maintaining the song’s signature Latin-inspired rhythm.

The highlight of the solo is undoubtedly the climactic fast-paced arpeggio-filled run, which has been the subject of countless covers and tributes. It brilliantly showcases Felder’s skill and technical prowess on the guitar, leaving listeners in awe. As the solo winds down, Felder brings back the same haunting melody from the intro, closing out the song with the same sense of mystery and intrigue that it began with.

Don Felder’s unforgettable solo in “Hotel California” cements its place as one of the greatest guitar performances of all time. It is a testament to the power of country-band guitar signatures in rock history and the lasting impact they can have. If you’re a fan of country guitar collaborations or just the guitar in general, you will definitely appreciate the greatness that is “Hotel California” and Don Felder’s iconic solo.

9. Johnny Cash – Folson Prison Blues

Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable country songs of all time. The iconic acoustic guitar solo in this song speaks to the heart of American life, struggle, and redemption.

Cash’s use of simple yet powerful strumming patterns combined with a distinct fingerstyle technique make this solo stand out in the world of country music. The melancholy tone of the solo, played on Cash’s signature Martin Dreadnought guitar, perfectly captures the emotions of a man locked behind bars.

The lyrics of “Folsom Prison Blues” speak to the struggles that many inmates face while serving time. With lines like “I hear that train a-rolling, it’s coming ’round the bend…”, Cash connects with the feelings of isolation and yearning for freedom that are common among prisoners. The guitar solo in this iconic song perfectly captures the melancholic tone that runs throughout the entire song.

It’s no wonder that “Folsom Prison Blues” remains a fan favorite among country music lovers. Johnny Cash’s guitar work on this track has become a staple of the genre and has inspired countless musicians over the years. This song is a testament to the power of music to connect with people across all walks of life.

If you’re interested in exploring more great country guitar work, you’ll love our list of top country band guitar signatures or our article on the best country guitar collaborations. These resources feature incredible guitar work from some of the best country musicians of all time.

10. Eric Church – Springsteen

One of the most beloved country songs of recent years is Eric Church’s “Springsteen.” A tribute to one of the most iconic rock and roll musicians of all time, Bruce Springsteen, this acoustic guitar solo is a must-listen for fans of both country and rock music.

Eric Church’s “Springsteen” was released in 2011 as part of his album “Chief” and it quickly became a fan favorite. The song tells the story of a teenage romance that was heavily influenced by the music of Bruce Springsteen. The lyrics are filled with references to Springsteen’s songs, including “Born to Run,” “Badlands,” and “Thunder Road.” The chorus, which uses the words “girl” and “man” interchangeably, is a touching ode to the power of music and its ability to transport us back to a specific time and place.

The acoustic guitar solo in “Springsteen” is masterfully played and perfectly captures the nostalgic and wistful tone of the song. The solo starts at the 2:25 mark and lasts for about 20 seconds. It is a simple yet haunting melody that is repeated twice, with a few variations on the second time around. Listening to it, one can’t help but feel a sense of longing and nostalgia for the past.

If you’re a fan of Eric Church or Bruce Springsteen, “Springsteen” is a song that you definitely don’t want to miss. And even if you’re not a huge fan of either artist, the acoustic guitar solo alone is reason enough to give it a listen.

Here are the details of the song:

Song Springsteen
Artist Eric Church
Album Chief
Released 2011
Duration 4:23

Preserving the Legacy: Honorable Mentions

Preserving The Legacy: Honorable Mentions
As we journey through the annals of country music history, it is impossible not to stumble upon countless other acoustic guitar performances that captivated hearts and minds. These are the performances that might have fallen under the radar or were overshadowed by the more popular picks. Nonetheless, they are just as important in preserving the legacy of country music. We’ve compiled a list of honorable mentions for those who might have missed them but certainly deserve to be recognized for their contribution to the genre. Let’s dive in!

1. The Judds – Love Can Build A Bridge

One of the most iconic country bands of all time, The Judds, have a number of acoustic guitar solos that are worth mentioning, but among them all, “Love Can Build A Bridge” stands out as one of their best. The song was released in 1990 and quickly became a chart-topper, winning the hearts of millions of fans worldwide.

The soulful rhythm and lyrics of the song are captivating, but it’s the acoustic guitar solo that truly steals the show. The solo, played by legendary guitarist Brent Mason, is filled with emotion and perfectly captures the essence of the song. Mason’s impeccable technique and precision in playing the solo are truly remarkable, and it’s no wonder he’s regarded as one of the best guitarists in country music history.

The solo starts off slowly, with Mason playing soft and gentle notes that evoke a sense of longing and vulnerability. As the solo progresses, however, Mason’s playing becomes more powerful and commanding, and his fingers dance across the strings with lightning speed. The solo is a perfect reflection of the song’s message about the power of love to overcome all obstacles in life.

Overall, “Love Can Build A Bridge” is a testament to The Judds’ talent and ability to create timeless music that resonates with audiences of all ages. The song’s incredible acoustic guitar solo only adds to its appeal, and it’s a perfect demonstration of the genius of Brent Mason’s guitar playing. If you’re a fan of acoustic guitar solos, this one is not to be missed.

2. Keith Urban – For You

Keith Urban is an Australian country music artist who has been a staple in the industry for many years. His song “For You” is a beautiful acoustic guitar solo that showcases his musical talent and heartfelt lyrics.

The song was originally recorded for the soundtrack of the movie “Act of Valor” and has since become a fan favorite. The opening chords of the song are simple but powerful, drawing the listener in and setting the tone for the rest of the piece.

As the song progresses, Urban’s voice intertwines perfectly with the intricate fingerpicking on the guitar. The emotional lyrics tell a story of love, sacrifice, and the lengths someone will go to protect those they care about.

The chorus is particularly impactful, with Urban singing “And I’ll be the last one standing / Two hands in the air, I’m a champion / You’ll be looking up at me when it’s over / I live for the battle, I’m a soldier.” The words are inspiring, and the guitar solo that follows only adds to the emotion of the song.

Overall, “For You” is a stunning example of Keith Urban’s talent as a guitarist and songwriter. The song is a testament to the power of music to move and inspire people, and it’s no wonder that it has become such a fan favorite.

If you’re looking for a beautiful acoustic guitar solo that will tug at your heartstrings, be sure to give “For You” a listen.

Other great acoustic guitar solos by country bands include “Black Mountain Rag” by Doc Watson, “Mr. Bojangles” by Chet Atkins, “Cannonball Rag” by Merle Travis, and “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson.

3. Dixie Chicks – Cowboy Take Me Away

One of the must-listen acoustic guitar solos in country music is the one from the Dixie Chicks’ hit song, “Cowboy Take Me Away.” The solo was played by the talented guitarist, Emily Robison. The solo adds a touch of elegance and romance to the already emotionally charged song.

The solo starts off with a simple yet beautiful melody that is played with a combination of fingerpicking and strumming. Robison highlights each note of the melody with precision and feeling, giving the impression that each note is being plucked right from the heartstrings. As the solo progresses, Robison adds more complexity to the melody, incorporating elements of pick harmonics and slides. She also showcases her impressive fingerpicking skills, playing a flurry of notes that seamlessly blend together to create a cohesive and flowing sound.

One of the most striking things about the “Cowboy Take Me Away” solo is the way it fits perfectly with the song’s sentiment. The solo has a dreamy, whimsical quality that makes you feel like you’re being transported to a world of open prairies and endless skies. The lyrics of the song, which talk about finding love and freedom in the arms of a cowboy, are enhanced by Robison’s delicate fingerpicking and soulful strumming.

The acoustic guitar solo in “Cowboy Take Me Away” is a testament to Emily Robison’s mastery of the instrument. It is a beautiful and memorable addition to an already unforgettable song. So, the next time you listen to this iconic Dixie Chicks track, pay close attention to the breathtaking guitar work and let it take you on a journey of love and adventure.

Pros Cons
Beautiful melody No variation in tempo
Impressive fingerpicking May be too simplistic for some listeners
Perfect fit with the song’s sentiment Not very dynamic

4. George Strait – Amarillo By Morning

Few country guitar solos are as cherished as George Strait’s “Amarillo By Morning.” This Texas-inspired composition is packed with longing and nostalgia, and Strait’s guitar work only adds to its beauty. Here are some of the reasons why this solo deserves a spot on any list of the best country guitar solos:

  • Unforgettable Melody: The guitar solo on “Amarillo By Morning” is simply unforgettable. The melody is played with such precision and passion that it’s hard not to get lost in the music.
  • Lyrics to Match: The lyrics of the song are as powerful as the guitar solo. Strait sings about a cowboy who has lost everything he has, but still holds onto hope. The guitar solo perfectly captures the sentiment of the lyrics.
  • Great Technique: George Strait may not be known for his guitar wizardry, but his technique on this solo is impressive. The way he picks each note so cleanly and precisely is a testament to his skill as a guitarist.
  • Iconic Status: “Amarillo By Morning” is one of the most iconic songs in country music, and the guitar solo is a big part of that. Fans of the song can’t help but sing along and air guitar to this classic solo.
  • Emotional Impact: The guitar solo on “Amarillo By Morning” is not just technically impressive, it also hits you right in the feels. The way the notes hang in the air and resolve into the next phrase is pure sonic magic, and has the power to move even the toughest of cowboys to tears.

All in all, George Strait’s guitar solo on “Amarillo By Morning” is a masterpiece of country music. It’s melodic, emotional, and technically impressive all at the same time. It’s no wonder that this solo continues to inspire new guitar players to this day.

5. Alison Krauss & Union Station – The Lucky One

When it comes to acoustic guitar solos by country bands, one cannot forget to mention Alison Krauss & Union Station’s heart-touching track “The Lucky One.” The song has become a fan-favorite due to its soulful melody and thought-provoking lyrics. The way Alison Krauss & Union Station blend their instruments together is magical, resulting in a powerful performance that truly unleashes their musical genius.

One of the highlights of “The Lucky One” is Barry Bales’ bass-playing, which lays down the perfect foundation for the song’s melody. Ron Block’s powerful strumming on the acoustic guitar is equally impressive, adding both depth and richness to the song’s sound. Jerry Douglas’ dobro skills are showcased throughout the song as he expertly weaves his instrument’s sound in and out of the melody. Meanwhile, Dan Tyminski’s strong and distinctive voice takes the song to new heights.

What makes “The Lucky One” stand out even more is the clever wordplay and the way Krauss and Tyminski’s vocals blend together. The chorus, “Some have a little, and they want more. Some have enough, but still, they’re greedy little eyes want more,” is a powerful message that resonates with many listeners. The song’s lyrics remind us to be grateful for what we have instead of always wanting more.

Overall, “The Lucky One” is a must-listen for anyone looking for a powerful and soulful experience. It’s no surprise that it ranks high among the best acoustic guitar solos by country bands. The way Alison Krauss & Union Station showcase their musical genius in this song is truly remarkable, making it a timeless classic that will continue to touch the hearts of listeners for years to come.

6. Vince Gill – Tryin’ to Get Over You

Vince Gill is widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists in country music history, and his acoustic guitar solo in “Tryin’ to Get Over You” showcases his extraordinary talent and musicianship. The song was released in 1994 as part of his album “I Still Believe in You” and has since become a fan favorite.

This acoustic guitar solo by Vince Gill is a true masterpiece, showcasing his outstanding fingerpicking style and masterful use of chords. The solo starts with a slow and melodic introduction that instantly captures the listener’s attention. As the solo progresses, Gill increases the tempo and intensity, creating a sense of urgency and passion that is truly breathtaking.

The solo is filled with intricate picking patterns and chord changes that highlight the complexity of the composition. The use of open strings and harmonics adds a unique layer of texture and richness to the solo, creating a sound that is both soulful and haunting.

To fully appreciate the brilliance of Vince Gill’s acoustic guitar solo in “Tryin’ to Get Over You”, let’s break it down into its key components. The table below summarizes the key elements of the solo and provides an insight into the chord progressions and picking patterns used by Vince Gill.

Component Description
Intro A slow and melodic section that sets the tone for the solo. Uses a combination of fingerpicking and strumming.
Verse 1 A progression of chords that creates a sense of tension and anticipation. Features intricate fingerpicking patterns and use of open strings.
Chorus A more upbeat section that contrasts with the slower tempo of the intro and verse. Uses a combination of strumming and fingerpicking to create a lively and energetic sound.
Verse 2 Similar to Verse 1 but with slight variations in the chord progression and picking patterns. Builds on the tension created in Verse 1 and leads into the climax of the solo.
Bridge A short section that changes the key and provides a transition to the final chorus. Uses a combination of strumming and fingerpicking to create a sense of anticipation and excitement.
Outro A return to the slower tempo and melodic sound of the intro. Features a beautiful and haunting chord progression that brings the solo to a satisfying conclusion.

Vince Gill’s acoustic guitar solo in “Tryin’ to Get Over You” is a testament to his extraordinary skill and artistry as a musician. It is a beautiful and emotive composition that showcases the power of acoustic guitar in country music. Vince Gill is a true master of the acoustic guitar, and this solo will continue to inspire and awe music lovers around the world for generations to come.

7. Martina McBride – Concrete Angel

Martina McBride’s “Concrete Angel” is not only a masterpiece of country music but also a touching story of a child facing abuse. The acoustic guitar solo in the song undoubtedly adds depth and emotion to the already powerful lyrics.

The solo starts right after the first chorus and consists of strumming and picking notes on the guitar. The notes are played with such precision and delicacy that they complement Martina’s vocals and paint a vivid picture of the story being told. The solo creates a melancholic effect that perfectly fits the theme of the song.

What’s impressive about this particular solo is the way it builds up the tension and then resolves it. The notes start off slow, creating a somber atmosphere, but then increase in tempo and volume as the story becomes more intense. The picking and strumming alternate rapidly, conveying the sense of urgency and despair.

To fully appreciate the significance of the solo, let’s take a closer look at the lyrics of the song. It tells the story of a young girl named “Angel” who is being physically abused by her mother. “She walks to school with the lunch she packed, nobody knows what she’s holding back,” sings Martina, emphasizing the girl’s isolation and the pain she’s enduring. The chorus goes, “A statue stands in a shaded place, an angel girl with an upturned face, a name is written on a polished rock, a broken heart that the world forgot.”

The acoustic guitar solo in “Concrete Angel” helps convey the anguish and fear experienced by the child in the story. It serves as a musical interpretation of the emotions that the lyrics express. It’s not just a solo, it’s a vital part of the song, contributing to its intensity and meaning.

Martina McBride’s “Concrete Angel” is a moving piece of country music, made even more poignant by the acoustic guitar solo. The solo is a masterful display of musical storytelling and highlights the importance of instruments in conveying emotions in songs.

8. Tim McGraw – Highway Don’t Care

One of the most iconic acoustic guitar solos in country music is found in Tim McGraw’s hit song, “Highway Don’t Care.” The solo, performed by legendary country guitarist, Brad Paisley, is a testament to his incredible musicianship and ability to create memorable and emotional guitar performances.

Paisley’s solo in “Highway Don’t Care” showcases his signature style, incorporating intricate fingerpicking and bluesy bends, all while maintaining a sense of melody that perfectly complements McGraw’s vocals. The solo appears towards the end of the song and serves as a powerful climax to an already emotional track.

What sets Paisley’s solo apart is his ability to seamlessly integrate complex guitar techniques with emotional storytelling. The solo begins with a series of intricate arpeggios that build in intensity, leading to a climactic bend that serves as a perfect transition into the song’s final chorus.

To fully appreciate the genius of Paisley’s solo, it’s worth examining the specific techniques he employs. In the table below, we break down each phrase of the solo and the techniques used:

Phrase Techniques
1 Fingerpicking, arpeggios, hammer-ons
2 Sliding double stops, bends, vibrato
3 Fingerpicking, arpeggios, bends, slides
4 Single-note runs, bends, vibrato
5 Chordal strumming, fingerpicking, arpeggios
6 Bends, vibrato, sliding double stops
7 Fingerpicking, arpeggios, hammer-ons, bends
8 Bends, vibrato, sliding double stops

As you can see, Paisley’s solo is a masterclass in guitar technique, incorporating everything from fingerpicking and arpeggios to complex bends and vibrato. But what truly sets it apart is Paisley’s ability to tell a story through his playing. Each phrase builds off the previous one, creating a sense of tension and release that perfectly matches the emotional arc of the song.

All in all, Brad Paisley’s acoustic guitar solo in Tim McGraw’s “Highway Don’t Care” is a stunning example of the power of country music to move us emotionally. With its combination of technical excellence and emotional nuance, it’s no wonder that this solo has become a fan favorite and a classic in the genre.

9. Taylor Swift – Mean

When we think of country guitar solos, we may not immediately think of Taylor Swift. However, her song “Mean” has a guitar solo that perfectly captures the raw emotion of the lyrics. The solo, played by Grant Mickelson, comes in towards the end of the song and it’s a showstopper. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this solo so special.

Firstly, Mickelson’s tone is impeccable. He has a warm, woody sound that evokes feelings of nostalgia and comfort. The solo starts off with a simple melody that builds and builds, leading up to the climax. This gradual increase in intensity is expertly done and really draws the listener in.

Once we reach the climax, Mickelson really lets loose. He plays fast, intricate runs up and down the neck, expertly weaving in and out of Swift’s vocals. The notes cascade over each other in an almost waterfall-like manner, carrying the listener along with them. It’s a truly emotional moment in a song that is all about standing up to bullies and not letting them bring you down.

The guitar solo in “Mean” doesn’t just serve as a showcase of Mickelson’s technical ability, though. It also helps to drive home the song’s message. By the time the solo arrives, Swift has already sung about being called names and feeling like an outcast. The solo acts as a release of all that pent-up frustration, and by the time it’s over, it feels like a victory has been won.

The guitar solo in “Mean” is a shining moment in Taylor Swift’s discography. It’s proof that country guitar solos can be just as emotional and impactful as those found in other genres. Mickelson’s playing is top-notch, and the solo perfectly underscores the message of the song. It’s a reminder that even in moments of darkness and doubt, music can be a beacon of hope and strength.

Song Credit Description
Taylor Swift – Mean Guitar Solo by Grant Mickelson The solo, played towards the end of the song, starts off with a simple melody that gradually builds up in intensity. Once it reaches the climax, Mickelson plays fast, intricate runs that expertly weave in and out of Swift’s vocals. It’s a truly emotional moment that serves to underscore the message of the song: standing up to bullies and not letting them bring you down.

10. Rascal Flatts – Bless the Broken Road

One of the most beloved acoustic guitar solos in country music is found in Rascal Flatts’ hit song “Bless the Broken Road”. This song, written by Marcus Hummon, Bobby Boyd, and Jeff Hanna, features a gorgeous solo played by the band’s lead guitarist Joe Don Rooney.

The solo begins with a simple melody, playing around the song’s main chord progression of G, D, Em, and C. Rooney skillfully adds in embellishments and arpeggios, showcasing his technical ability while still maintaining a sense of musicality.

As the solo progresses, Rooney begins to build up the intensity, adding in more complex runs and hammer-ons. The solo then reaches its climax with a soaring, emotional lick that perfectly complements the song’s theme of finding love and redemption on a difficult journey.

What makes this solo particularly special is how it seamlessly fits into the song as a whole. It never feels showy or out of place, but rather serves to enhance the emotional impact of the lyrics. Rooney’s playing perfectly captures the joy and sense of relief that comes from finding a love that feels like fate.

Overall, “Bless the Broken Road” is a fantastic example of an acoustic guitar solo that not only showcases a musician’s technical ability but also enhances the emotional impact of the song as a whole. It’s no wonder why it remains a fan favorite to this day.


In conclusion, the acoustic guitar has played a significant role in country music for decades. From legends like Doc Watson, Chet Atkins, and Merle Travis to modern-day stars like Brad Paisley and Eric Church, the country genre has produced some of the most iconic and memorable guitar solos in music history. These solos showcase not only the technical skill and talent of the guitarists but also the emotions and stories that country music is known for.

While this list only scratches the surface of the vast catalog of acoustic guitar solos in country music, it is clear that these musicians have left an indelible mark on the genre. From the lightning-fast fingerpicking of “Black Mountain Rag” to the soulful strumming of “On the Road Again,” each of these solos is a testament to the power of the acoustic guitar and its ability to convey a wide range of emotions.

As we continue to celebrate the legacy of country music, it’s important to remember and honor the contributions of these guitarists and their unforgettable solos. Whether you’re a seasoned musician or just a fan of great music, these solos are sure to inspire and captivate you for years to come.

In short, the acoustic guitar solos featured on this list are a testament to the unparalleled talent, creativity, and passion of country music’s greatest guitarists. So, take the time to listen and appreciate the incredible musical genius that they have unleashed through their guitars.


Acknowledging the sources of information and inspiration is crucial in any piece of writing. When it comes to compiling a list of the best acoustic guitar solos by country bands, we have referred to a range of resources to ensure its accuracy and relevance.

The following references have been consulted:

  • The Big Book of Bluegrass by Neil V. Rosenberg – This exhaustive resource delves deep into the history and evolution of bluegrass music and its major players, including Doc Watson, Tony Rice, and Alison Krauss.
  • Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player – This documentary film provides a detailed look at the life and career of Chet Atkins, widely considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time.
  • The Country Music Association Encyclopedia – This comprehensive encyclopedia covers the entire spectrum of country music, from its roots to the modern era, and includes profiles of legendary country artists such as Merle Travis, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash.
  • Rolling Stone Magazine – As one of the most revered music magazines in the world, Rolling Stone has covered a vast array of country artists and their work over the years.

These sources, along with our own experience and knowledge of country music, have allowed us to compile a list of what we believe to be some of the most impressive and iconic country acoustic guitar solos to date. While these references have been invaluable in guiding our choices, ultimately, the ranking of these guitar solos is open for subjective interpretation and personal preference.

However, we believe that by drawing upon these sources, we have created a list that will appeal to a wide range of country music fans, enthusiasts, and guitarists alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What makes a great acoustic guitar solo in country music?

A great acoustic guitar solo in country music must have melody, intricacy, and emotion. It should make the listener feel the story behind the lyrics and convey the mood of the song.

2. Who are some of the greatest country guitarists of all time?

Some of the greatest country guitarists of all time include Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Tony Rice, Brad Paisley, and Willie Nelson.

3. What are some tips for mastering acoustic guitar solos?

Some tips for mastering acoustic guitar solos include practicing regularly, breaking down the solo into smaller parts, and slowing down the tempo. It is also helpful to study and learn from great guitarists in the genre.

4. Can acoustic guitar solos be played on an electric guitar?

Yes, acoustic guitar solos can be played on an electric guitar. However, it may require adjusting the tone and effects settings to get a similar sound.

5. What role does the acoustic guitar play in country music?

The acoustic guitar is a central instrument in country music, providing the foundation for the melody and rhythm of the song. It is often used to convey the emotion and storytelling of the lyrics.

6. Are there female country guitarists who have made an impact?

Yes, there are many female country guitarists who have made a significant impact, including Bonnie Raitt, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Sheryl Crow.

7. Can acoustic guitar solos be improvised?

Yes, acoustic guitar solos can be improvised, often creating a unique and memorable element to the song. Improvisation allows the guitarist to showcase their creativity and musical talent.

8. What are some common techniques used in country acoustic guitar solos?

Some common techniques used in country acoustic guitar solos include fingerpicking, flatpicking, slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs.

9. What kind of guitar is best for playing country music?

The type of guitar that is best for playing country music is a steel-string acoustic guitar or an acoustic-electric guitar. These guitars allow for the bright and distinctive sound that is characteristic of country music.

10. How do I learn to play country guitar solos?

To learn to play country guitar solos, it is helpful to take lessons from a professional guitar teacher or watch online tutorials. It is also beneficial to practice regularly and study the techniques and styles of great country guitarists.


About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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